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BlackBerry Pearl 8130 review

6.4/10 AVG.

  • BlackBerry Pearl 8130
  • BlackBerry Pearl 8130

Informr score
The BlackBerry Pearl 8130 currently has an Informr score of 6.4 out of 10. This score is based on our evaluation of 37 sources including reviews from users and the web's most trusted critics.

The Blackberry 8130 Pearl is a departure for RIM, trading bulky for thin and stylish, clearly signaling a directional change for a company long associated with business and utilitarian functionality.

But don’t let the sleek and sexy form factor fool you! The 8130 is a true Blackberry, with its highly acclaimed “push” email and assortment of preloaded applications. The Pearl also features a much improved, multi-directional trackball which has been moved from the side of the device to a more convenient, central location on the face. Rounding out this latest Blackberry is a 2 megapixel camera with flash, side-loading microSD storage up to 2 gigabytes, all capable of running on a EVDO RevA high speed network.

The Pearl provides two customizable convenience keys; the left key default is for voice dialing, which is much better on this device than on many other phones I have used. Rather than fight with the voice recognition program, I found it easily recognized my commands. The right side convenience key default is for the camera. Once you are in camera mode, the trackball allows you to zoom in and out simply by rolling the ball with your thumb. The flash is automatic and very bright.

The 8130 is more like a “Pearl 2” than just a CDMA iteration. In fact, compared to the AT&T Wireless 8120, the 8130 has a better camera (2.0 megapixel camera with flash rather than a 1.3MP camera with no flash), easier access to external memory and comes pre-loaded on Verizon with VZNavigator, Verizons GPS software. If you choose not to pay $9.99 per month for the GPS service, the 8130 also comes with Google Maps preloaded, which can be used to get you where you want to go, albeit without the extra bells and whistles that you get with the paid service.

The 8130 also comes with AIM, Yahoo and MSN Messenger preloaded, and you can sign in and stay signed in to the instant messenger of your choice. The Pearl also works with Facebook, something I discovered and have found to be great fun. Both Facebook and the IM software move this device slightly away from its historic role as a raw business device and into an area where the rest of us live. Using the Pearl to communicate with friends is as easy as anything on the market.

I have been using my new Blackberry Pearl for a few weeks and its every bit as good as I had hoped it would be, and much faster than the AT&T Pearl which I used for a week prior. I can understand why Blackberry remains the choice of business professionals and government; it is genuinely easy to use and allows you to get what you want and do what you want without distraction or delay.

To achieve its slim form factor, Pearl uses Suretype, a modified Qwerty whereby there are two characters per key. While some folks have complained that Suretype is difficult to use, I found that it takes just a bit of practice. Learning Suretype is similar to learning T9 after being a “tap, tap, tapper”. However, the spacing of the keys are slightly cramped compared to the spaciousness of the Curve, to be sure, so this is something to consider if you are in the market for a smartphone. I have found that the contours of the individual buttons attempts to make up for their close proximity; if you just press the key you want it works fine. The Pearl also has the ability to “learn” words; the more you type the more it learns to recognize words you use.

In an ever growing field of touch interfaces, Blackberry remains resolute in its time-tested operating system. The RIM OS is designed to provide you access to options via the centrally located, durable trackball. Press the trackball and an option list pops up. Simply scroll to the action you want and press the trackball again.

The Pearl should appeal to folks who want the power of a Blackberry without the bulk. It is a good-looking device that celebrates its keyboard rather than make excuses for it.

There are many ways to personalize your Pearl. Numerous websites are dedicated to the Blackberry product line which offer free themes, wallpapers, ringtones, games and software. My favorite free applications is Viggo, a customizable RSS aggregator that is crazy easy to use and allows me lightening fast access to all the top stories in all the categories I am interested in, and even allows me to forward any article to anyone with just a couple clicks of the ever present trackball.

Because Blackberries in general do not display emails in the most user-friendly way, I did spend an additional $25.00 on a program that allows me to view emails the way they are meant to be seen. This program, and others like it, integrate seamlessly into the OS without you having to do anything, and allow you to customize fonts and colors. Loading this program was also quite simple as it was an over the air (OTA) download and therefore did not require cables, syncing and zip files.

Because the Pearl is an expensive smartphone, you will want to shop for an appropriate case. Keep in mind that Blackberry cases often contain a magnet woven into the fabric, which is designed to put the device in sleep mode to extend the length of a battery charge. I chose a wonderful holster from Bodyglove which includes a rotating clip that doubles as a stand.

If you want constant access to email and an operating system built proudly around a durable keypad, you will find the Pearl to be very effective and, dare I say, fun!

by Scot Cerullo

Operating system
312 MHz
Screen Size
2+ MP

Prices (Where to Buy)

Common Questions

We've got you covered! Download a free PDF copy of the BlackBerry Pearl 8130 user manual here.

BlackBerry backs up the Pearl 8130 with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.

If your Pearl 8130 has problems and is still within its warranty period, you could contact BlackBerry support or the retailer you purchased the phone from. You'll find BlackBerry's contact information here. If your phone is off warranty and needs repair for a physical problem such as a broken screen or bad battery, you should visit an authorized service centre or a local phone repair shop. You can also connect with others in The Informr Community Forum to find and share answers to questions.

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Screen Size

The BlackBerry Pearl 8130's screen size is Unknown with x pixels resolution.

312 MHz

There is a Qualcomm MSM6550 312 MHz processor (CPU).


The phone runs on proprietary operating system firmware.

2+ MP

You can take photos or capture video with the phone's onboard 2+ megapixel camera.

There's no secondary front camera.


Internal memory is No. An external, MicroSD (up to 8 GB) expansion slot is available for increased storage capacity.


The phone is powered by a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion), 900 mAh battery. BlackBerry's performance ratings are 9 days standby time.

Pearl 8130 Specs

Release date October 1, 2007
Regions available USA, Canada
1xRTT, EV-DO Rev. 0
Mobile / Cellular Data
SIM card size
Dual SIM No
Operating System No

Compare BlackBerry Smartphones

Processor Qualcomm MSM6550 312 MHz
Internal Storage No
Hearing Aid Compatible Yes
Noise Cancellation No
SAR Head: 1.48 W/kg
Languages No
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included AC Charger, Data Cable, Manual, Standard Battery
Power & battery
Battery Type Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)
Battery Capacity 900 mAh
Removable Battery Yes
Wireless Charging No
Fast Charging No
Video Playback Time Unknown
Internet Use (Wi-Fi) Unknown
Internet Use (Celluar) Unknown
Talk Time Unknown
Standby Time Up to: 9 days
Physical Characteristics
Design type Bar
Multi-Use Smart Phone / PDA Yes
Material Unknown
Colors Black, Blue, Gray, Pink, Red, Silver, White
Dimensions [H x W x D] 10.7 x 5.0 x 1.4 cm (4.2 x 2 x 0.6 in)
Weight 96 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof Unknown
Rugged design No
IP Rating No
Display / Screen
Type Color
Technology LCD (TFT)
Colors 65k
Resolution x pixels
Pixel density Unknown
Size Unknown
Secondary Display No
Graphics Yes
Themes Yes
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification No
Screen Orientation Lock No
Multi-Touch No
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating No
Additional Display Features -
Input / Navigation
Sleep / Wake Key No
Home Key No
Mute Key No
Input Type SureType / 20-key
Navigation Type Trackball
Predictive Text Entry SureType
Physical keyboard No
Voicemail Key Yes
Any Key Answer Yes
Voice Commands Yes
Keypad/Screen Lock Yes
External Volume Control Yes
External Media Playback Controls No
Fingerprint Sensor No
Call Management
Wi-Fi Calling No
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) No
Contact List Capacity Depends on system memory
Multiple Numbers Per Contact Unknown
Contact Groups No
Auto Answer No
Voice Activated Dialing Yes
Photo Caller ID Yes
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browser Yes
Email Client Yes
Email Protocols POP3, IMAP, SMTP, Blackberry Connect
Additional Email Features -
Messaging SMS, EMS, MMS, AIM, MSN, ICQ
Push-to-talk (PTT) No
USB OTG Support No
Infrared No
Bluetooth Yes
Bluetooth Profiles A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP
Bluetooth Audio Codecs SBC
WiFi No
WiFi Encryption No
Mobile Hotspot No
Memory Expansion Slot Yes
Expansion Slot Info MicroSD (up to 8 GB)
PC Synchronization Yes
TV Out No
DLNA Support No
Data Tethering Compatibility Yes
Java Applications Yes
Brew Applications No
ECML / Digital Wallet No
Main Camera
2+ megapixels
5x digital
Yes (LED)
Additional Rear Camera Info
Self-portrait, White balance
Video Recording Formats
3GP / 3GPP, MPEG-4
Video Recording Parameters
Front Camera
Additional Front Camera Info
Video Recording Parameters
Audio / Video
Audio Playback Yes
Audio Formats MP3, eAAC+, AAC+, AAC, WMA
Radio No
Video Playback Yes
Video Playback Formats 3GP / 3GPP, MPEG-4
Streaming Video No
External Speakers No
Headset Jack 3.5mm
Custom Ringtones No
Vibration Alert Yes
Downloadable Ringtones Yes
Ringer ID Yes
Haptic Feedback Vibration No
Speakerphone Yes
To-Do / Task List Yes
Calendar Yes
World Clock No
Alarm Yes
Stop Watch Yes
Timer No
Calculator Yes
Currency Converter Yes
Viewable document types No
Weather Yes
Stocks Yes
Maps Yes
NotePad Yes
Voice Memos / Recorder Yes
Games Downloadable
Apps No ()
Included Software / Apps -
Additional comments Other Names (AKA): BlackBerry 8130

Related Links Manual (PDF)
BlackBerry Pearl 8130 Reviews
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